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5 of the Best Tourist Cities in Brazil

Brazil has hundreds of towns and cities for travelers to visit and enjoy, and across the country you can find a huge variety in terms of culture, scenery and attractions. Choosing 5 of the best tourist cities in Brazil is a challenge, but these five below have been chosen because between them they represent much of the variety that Brazil is known for.

Rio de Janeiro

Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Rio is Brazil's most popular tourist city, and for good reason. In this city alone you will find much of the variety that Brazil offers -- wonderful beaches, scenery, a variety of attractions, and a bustling metropolis that includes great shopping, dining and entertainment. The busy atmosphere may not be for everyone, especially around Carnival time, though to experience Rio's Carnival at least once in your life is an experience you're unlikely to forget!


Thousands of buildings in Salvador da Bahia Brazil

Brazil's first colonial capital was Salvador and today this city is considered one of the birthplaces of Brazilian culture. The city is the third largest in the country so it's busy, but the beautiful historic center of Salvador makes this a place well worth visiting. Often known as The Pelourinho, the historic center offers plenty of colonial history and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is full of colorful, pastel shaded colonial buildings and historic squares, and has a wonderful atmosphere. Spend time soaking it in in Salvador's churches, restaurants and cafes.


Distant view of Florianopolis Santa Catarina Brazil

While much of Brazil is graced with beautiful beaches, those of Florianopolis are said to be among the best. Set in the south of Brazil, this city has over 40 beaches and is partly located on an island just off the coast. Founded in 1726, Florianopolis has a good selection of historical sites too, and an excellent public market where you can buy some of the region's quality handicrafts.


Beach on Amazon River in Manaus Brazil

The best gateway into the Amazon rainforest, the city of Manaus is the capital of the state of Amazonas and is its largest city. Take your river tour down the Amazon from here, but also spend time in the city itself where there's grand architecture that was funded by the rubber industry barons. Teatro Amazonas is a great example of this, and there are often free performances of the opera staged here. Riverside beaches make a nice alternative to those on the ocean, while places like the National Park of Jau are within easy traveling distance.

Sao Paulo

View of river and buildilng in Sao Paulo Brazil
It's a huge city but Brazil's largest cannot be ignored for its non-stop vibrancy and multitude of tourist attractions. Sao Paulo is home to nearly 8 million people within its metro area and it's the ultimate urban vacation destination. Skyscrapers with observation decks, countless museums, numerous parks and open spaces, the largest zoo in Brazil, and one of Latin America's largest aquariums are just a few of the attractions here. The culture is spectacular too and there's such a variety of ethnic groups represented in Sao Paulo. Choosing a restaurant is a challenge when there are around 12,000 of them, and a staggering 62 different types of cuisines are on offer!

Quick Brazil Travel Tips

  • Timing is everything - When you choose to travel to Brazil can have a big impact on your trip. Choosing the best time to travel to Brazil will have a lot to do with where you plan to travel and what activities you have on your itinerary.
  • Eat local - Food is one of the best parts of a trip abroad. While the cities of Brazil feature many restaurants and dining options that will be familiar to U.S. travelers, take advantage of the vibrant and diverse food options. Brazillian cuisine varies depending on where you are in the country, so be sure to check out the local specialties throughout your journey.
  • Get out of town - While city life in Brazil offers travelers an overabundance of things to see and do, sometimes you may want a change of scenery. If you need to change of pace, consider catching a ride out of town to visit one of the many tropical islands of Brazil for some exotic relaxation.

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About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

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